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25 March, 2013
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Mitote: the Dream of Reality

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Dancing Circles

ETYMOLOGICALLY, THE WORD mitote comes from mitotiqui, which in Nahuatl means “dancer.” Nowadays, the word serves to describe an uproar, turmoil, or outcry. However, in the past it described the sacred dances practised by many old villages of the Anahuac, both in modern Mexico (the Mexicas, Huicol, or Cora, for example), or from the United States (the Comanche or Apache Nations, for example). One of the few remnants that remain of these old dances comes from the Nayarit warriors, better known nowadays as the Cora people, an ethnic group that live to the east of the state of Nayarit, Mexico. They are called “circle dances.”

In that sacred mitote, the word gains a much deeper meaning. At this level, it refers to another dance: the divine dance of Creation. We may find its closest equivalent in the concept of rasa lila, by which the Puranas (the sacred scriptures from India) describe the dances of Krishna with the gopis (the cow herding girls). “He danced with them in such a way that each one felt special, as if he were dancing only with her.”

Rasa refers to the dance, while Lila literally means “pastime,” “game,” or “enjoyment.” With these words, the Universe is being described as the result of the dance of the Creator, the result of His recreation. Brahman, the Creator, in His dance, projects maya, the illusory reality of an apparent world. The Sanskrit word maya describes the creative power of the divinity to transform Itself into the universe and manifest as every expression of consciousness. The Divine manifests Herself in us as Krishna does, who, although being only one, dances with each of the gopis as if He were dancing only with her.

Maya describes that illusory reality, in which reality is fabricated from the material of dreams. The world that surrounds us seems real because we are projecting it with our minds. We project it according to the experiences that we have had or that we have chosen to live. However, at the same time, we share that reality, making our experiences fit with those of others. How is that possible? This is the power of maya or of the mind: it makes us perceive the world through who we believe we are (the ego), when in reality we are all One (universal consciousness).

Given that we are One in reality, what we do to others is what we are doing to ourselves. It isn’t that our actions come back to us by an act of fate to reward good deeds and punish the bad. It’s that those same actions were done to nobody but ourselves. That is the true law of karma, a Sanskrit world that literally means “action.” Karma is the accumulation of all thoughts, desires, and actions carried out in the past but whose effects we still haven’t experienced.

In the material realm, karma appears as the unifying force that joins elementary particles together to form atoms, atoms to make up molecules, molecules to establish organisms, and organisms to create worlds, galaxies, and universes. It is manifested as any of the four fundamental forces of nature, known by science as the weak nuclear force, the strong nuclear force, the electromagnetic force, and the gravitational force.

In the mental realm, it’s the force that gives cohesion to that dance, to the “circle dance,” not just of the Nayarit warriors or of Krishna with the gopis, but of all the unique expressions of consciousness. In that circle, we hold hands with those with whom we have created karmic bonds, in order to perceive a “common reality.”

In the spiritual realm, while Maya has led us to believe that we are separate, karma is there so we don’t forget that we are one in reality.

In that circle, we hold hands with those with whom we have Karmic bonds, in order to project a “common reality.” By holding hands, we create different circles of dancers, such as cosmic, galactic, solar, and planetary circles. Each one of these circles encompasses all the expressions of consciousness that inhabit those realities. Thus, we belong to such circles as the Universe, the Milky Way, the Solar System, and planet Earth.

Within planet Earth, there are still other circles, such as the one that brings together all human beings that inhabit the planet Earth at this precise moment in time. I call this the circle of the Mastay. Other circles bind us to a certain culture or nation, principally through languages, values, customs, and traditions. Furthermore, there are yet other circles of dancers that tie us to our place of origin, or to the family in which we were born. The diverse realities or dreams of agreement form a set of circumferences that intersect or contain each other.

Mitote - Circles

They are circles of consensus, which means that to alter certain aspects of the collective dream we need the agreement of all those with whom we are sharing that dance. That is why each circle defines its own rules. These rules create limits between the possible and the unlikely or between the accepted and that which is not accepted. In the dream of a culture, social behavioural norms are made. In the dream of the human race, limits are put on our physical and mental abilities. In the dream of physical matter, these limits are called the fundamental laws of physics. These laws regulate the physical plane and prevent us from, for example, being able to instantly change matter with a mere thought.

However, that is possible in that other plane, the astral. It is possible when, away from our physical body, and therefore not subject to the limitations imposed by the dream of materiality, we become aware of dreaming. This is called having a lucid dream. To achieve it, however, we must first be aware that we are dreaming, for when there is no awareness, we remain at the mercy of the dream world, and we remain helpless puppets that accept everything that happens to us, as absurd as it may seem afterwards. Upon waking up, we ask ourselves, “How could I have believed such nonsense?!”

When we perceive a dream as real, we remain subject to the limitations imposed by it. And the same thing happens to us in the waking state. When we believe the dream of materiality, and call it “reality” to differentiate it from “fantasy,” we remain tied to the physical laws of “reality” that our mind has fabricated. On the other hand, those who have reached a sufficient level of lucidity are awake and, as such, they don’t believe in the dream of materiality. They know that it is their own projection, and this allows them to multiply loaves and fish, multiply themselves to dance with the gopis, as well as accomplish other miracles. They are the awake ones.

The mitote symbolises the consensus dream of a collective.  It is that sacred dance of the Apache, Comanche, Mexicas, Cora, or Huicol, a dance in which the entire community unite in a ritual to consensually project the reality that they want to live in. It is also this other dance, that which I call the Mastay, in which humanity will one day be able to reunite, and with its dance attain a common purpose.

Changing the Mitote

TO CHANGE THE mitote implies changing the social paradigm, changing it for a better one that is regulated by new values, other social goals, new economic systems, and more harmonious social relationships. It means changing the social contract, rescinding the old to celebrate the new. It also implies recovering our lost bonds with Mother Earth.

But can we change all of that? Yes, we can, when three conditions are fulfilled.

The first condition was already mentioned: we need to be conscious that “reality” is no more than a dream. That will allow us to stop being passively dreamed, and to start actively dreaming.

The second condition requires that we achieve a critical mass of human beings that want a change in the social paradigm, that want to project a new dream of consensus, the dream we wish to live in. If we don’t reach this critical mass, we will continue to be immersed in this same dream. If we don’t open our eyes to exclaim with strength to the four winds, “how could I have believed such nonsense,” then we will continue believing in what the nonsense can transform into: even more nonsense!

The third condition asks that the critical mass be reached at a time in the cycle in which we are able to wake up with greater ease. It is as though, while we are sleeping, someone enters our room. If in that precise instant we find ourselves in the hypnagogic phase of dreaming―the threshold that exists between dreaming and waking―we will wake up with relative ease. But if we are in deep sleep, it will be a lot harder to notice the presence of an intruder.

Three states of dreaming

Once awake, we should also know when it’s time to plant the seed. It is like growing tomatoes. If we plant them in summer, they will surely grow and give fruit, but the tomatoes will never mature, since they lack hours of sunlight. If we plant them in the autumn, the tomato plants will grow, but the first frost of winter will kill them just when they start to flower. If we plant them in winter, they won’t even germinate because they need ground that has reached a minimum temperature. To eat tomatoes we should plant them in the spring.

Hence, the ancient Greeks possessed two words to express the concept of time: cronos, which refers to the mere sum of temporal moments and kairos, a concept that refers to the opportune moment, the instant of synchronicity in which something can be changed because it has reached its maturity, its synchronicity with other cycles. That moment seems to have already arrived.

There are several cultures that tell us how dreams of consensus are governed by cycles of approximately 5000 years, so that every five millennia it is possible to change them. Five of such cycles complete a platonic year of 25,000 years, also called cycle of precession of the equinoxes. The cultures that didn’t forget all this tell us that we are waking up from the collective dream that governed the winter phase of the cycle, also called the Iron Age or Kali Yuga and that we are entering into a new dream, the one that defines the next spring of the cycle. The time to wake up from one mitote has arrived, so that we can plant the seed for the next.

 2013, Marc Torra for

Translated by Sumera Masood.

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Marc Torra
Marc comes from Urus, a community in the Pyrenees, the land of the Cathars. The name Urus is of Indo-European origin and it means ‘a place where the water springs’. He went abroad in 1995 after graduating in Economics from the university of Barcelona, and since then has lived and worked a little in every continent. Through living in other countries, Marc has associated with many different cultures and ways of thinking; especially with those he calls ‘earth people’. From them he has learned a different way of reasoning, and discovered that the future of the planet depends on our ability to learn what such cultures have to offer. As an author he writes about spirituality and new tendencies, developing and intermingling genres, making use of both narrative and essay writing. Marc tries to understand and experience things for himself in order to build bridges, both to unify different cultures and spiritual traditions across the globe, and help visualise a better future.